Here is the mantle from the fireplace. We're going to sand it down and restore it because it's just too awesome to get rid of.
Another cool thing about this picture is that you can see the original hardwood floors. They won't be visible when Mike and Eddie (our contractors) lay the new ones down but it's inspiring to see a glimpse into the past. One of the first professionals to visit after the fire was an architect we hired to assess the structure of the house. He marveled at the integrity of the original construction ....even after all it has been through, its bones are so solid. You could almost refinish and use that original floor. The old adage is true: "they just don't make 'em like that anymore".